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GW Law Library
Research Guides

Copyright Law

About Copyright

"Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of 'original works of authorship' that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. An original work of authorship is a work that is independently created by a human author and possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity. A work is 'fixed' when it is captured (either by or under the authority of an author) in a sufficiently permanent medium such that the work can be perceived, reproduced, or communicated for more than a short time. Copyright protection in the United States exists automatically from the moment the original work of authorship is fixed." (From the United States Copyright Office's Copyright Basics.)

Study Aids

Online access: The GW Law Library provides access to the Aspen Learning Library, which includes the Examples & Explanations series and CrunchTime study guides; and the LexisNexis Digital Library, which includes the Understanding and Q&A series. When prompted to login, use your GW Law email address and password.

Print study aids may be borrowed from the Reserve Collection at the Law Library's Circulation/Reserve Desk for up to 2 hours. Older editions may be found in the Law Library stacks. For more study aids in the Law Library's collection, please consult our Study Aids guide.



Search the Library's catalog (JACOB) to see if a book required for class is on Course Reserve in the Library. Course Reserve materials may be checked out from the Library's Circulation/Reserve Desk for up to two hours.

Copyright Searching

Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)

CALI lessons are interactive tutorials written by law professors at CALI member schools. They can be used for studying topics in copyright law, including copyright formalities and duration, secondary liability, and fair use.

Ask a Reference Librarian for the GW Law CALI code.